To rephrase the heinous comment from America’s foremost gun industry lobbyist Wayne LaPierre, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is to take away the gun from the bad guy.”
Because State borders are porous, and the internet even more so, effective federal laws are our first line of defense. Sadly many Congress members are paid off, live in fear of having to face a primary opponent, are frightened of a small group of loud gun advocates, and misrepresent the 2nd Amendment. Whatever Congress may soon pass will do little to solve the problem.
Such does not stop New Jersey from taking needed aggressive action. Alas, Governor Christie, in the midst of one election and considering another, seems loath to infuriate a part of his base. He has just received his task force’s report which does not even address expanded background checks, a ban on Internet gun sales, or new limits on high-capacity magazines. He says he will issue recommendations shortly, but expect baby steps where giant steps are needed.
The Assembly passed a slew of bills but the Senate has just been sitting on them. It will be up to the legislature, some of whose members are under the same influence as Congressmen, to show they have the guts to do what’s right. And they have the difficult task of garnering enough votes to over-ride a Christie veto.
What is needed? Sales and possession of any type of attack weapon in New Jersey should be a crime. Yes, owners should return such military-like weapons to state facilities. Law enforcement should vigorously seek out such owners, confiscate the weapons and severely punish those who have not complied. The same goes for magazines with more than five bullets and armor-piercing bullets. There should be universal background checks on all purchases and transfers. Owners of fire arms should have a license and renew it annually. The data bank of criminals and the mentally ill should be strengthened. Local law enforcement should increase its efforts to reduce trafficking and punish more severely those who buy or possess weapons illegally.
Personally, I like to hunt. I don’t like an America where “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” We have too many guns already. It’s time for New Jersey to take many of them back.